Washoe County says widespread testing for COVID-19 won’t happen anytime soon

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Watch: Dr. Mark Pandori of the Nevada State Public Health Lab talks about the antibodies test Reno Gazette Journal

While Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak has said more COVID-19 tests are coming to the Silver State, the Washoe County Health District said widespread testing in Reno and Sparks isn’t in the immediate future.   

“We don’t anticipate anytime soon that we are going to do large testing of the population and asymptomatic individuals,” said Washoe County Health District Officer Kevin Dick.

Nationally, health experts have pointed to widespread testing, including of people who aren’t showing signs of coronavirus, as being essential to controlling the spread and opening schools and businesses. 

“If we want to move forward, we are going to have to do more,” said Mark Pandori, director of the Nevada State Public Health Laboratory. 

In Nevada, 29,762 people have been tested for COVID-19 as of Friday. 

Sisolak and Pandori declined to give specific numbers on how much more testing is needed in Nevada when asked on Thursday during a state press conference.  

“We are not going to put an exact number, a magic number on how many tests we need to determine whether or not the coast is clear, so to speak,” Pandori said.

And while widespread testing is not in the immediate future, Dick said testing of asymptomatic people in nursing homes, homeless shelters or even at businesses might not be far off.

“Those type of populations are ones that we are now working to develop strategies for testing … versus the criteria we are now using of people that only have symptoms.”

Siobhan McAndrew tells stories about the people of Northern Nevada and covers education in Washoe County. Read her journalism right here. Consider supporting her work by subscribing to the Reno Gazette Journal

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